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Coconut Cream Pie

2 Mar

  • 1/2  (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  cup  half-and-half
  • 1 1/2  cups  flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1  vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 1/3  cup  cornstarch
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  large egg yolks
  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 3  large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/4  cup  water
  • 1/4  cup  flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes; remove weights and foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups coconut. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring milk mixture to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather edges of cheesecloth; squeeze over bowl to release moisture. Discard solids.

4. Combine 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

5. Place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until thick. Spread meringue over pie. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with toasted coconut before serving.

Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD, Cooking Light, March 2011

Best coconut cream pie recipe I’ve ever tried.  Both the filling and the merengue came out to the perfect consistency.  The filling is light with a subtle flavor and the crust adds the perfect crisp complement.  Instead of using the prepared dough, I recommend using Alan Carter’s Pie Recipe (  I also use flat rocks that we brought back from Lake Superior as my pie weights.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a nice alternative to having to buy yet another kitchen tool – I, for one, am out of room!


Apple-Cranberry Pie

29 Dec

  • 2 portions  Alan’s Pie Pastry, or 2 rolled refrigerated piecrusts
  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup  cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp.  lemon juice
  • 1-1/4 cups  sugar
  • 1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp.  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp.  ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp.  salt
  • 1 recipe  Pastry Cream (recipe below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp.  whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll one pastry portion to a circle 14 inches in diameter. Transfer pastry to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate; cover and set aside. On a floured surface roll remaining pastry to a 12-inch circle; cover and set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine apples, cranberries and lemon juice. In a small bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

3. Spread bottom of crust with Pastry Cream. Toss apple mixture with dry ingredients; add to pie tin. Immediately add top crust. Trim to 1/2-inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Cut 4 small openings, so the steam is released. Combine egg and whipping cream; brush liberally on pie. Place pie on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cover edges of pie with foil, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning. Cool on wire rack.

Pastry Cream: In a small saucepan combine 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup sugar; cook over medium heat just until bubbly on edges. Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl beat 2 egg yolks, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup hot milk mixture; quickly beat in remaining milk mixture. Return to saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thick and comes to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer to bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool. Chill to store.

Bettter Homes & Gardens, November 2010

After making this recipe, I feel that I can rest easy, contented that I have made the best apple pie in the entire world.  I am hesitant to even share this recipe as I would like to horde it forever and claim it as my crowning achievement in life.  It is amazing.  Enough said.

So here is a cheesy picture of me – being proud of my best-ever pie.

Lemon Velvet Cream Pie

26 Dec

  • 1 portion  Alan’s Pie Pastry, or 1 rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust
  • 1 tsp.  unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp.  cold water
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 14-oz. cans  sweetened condensed milk (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup  whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp.  salt
  • 3/4 cup  lemon juice
  • Whipped Cream
  • Thin lemon peel slivers

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out pastry portion on a floured surface to a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie tin or plate without stretching. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Prick bottom and sides of pastry with a fork. Place in freezer 10 minutes. Line pastry with foil pie pan (see Blind Baking*); fill with dried beans or pie weights. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake 30 minutes. Carefully remove foil pan. Bake 15 minutes more. Cool on wire rack. (If using rolled refrigerated crust, bake according to package directions.)

2. In a small bowl soften gelatin in water 5 minutes. Heat in microwave for 14 seconds; set aside.

3. In large bowl combine egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. With an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined. Beat in gelatin, whipping cream and salt on low speed. Add lemon juice and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Pour into prepared crust (pie will be full).

4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until center of pie looks set when gently shaken; cool on wire rack 1 hour. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

5. Top with whipped cream and lemon peel slivers just before serving. Makes 8 servings.

*Blind Baking:When blind baking (prebaking the pastry shell) for the Lemon Velvet Cream Pie, Alan uses a disposable 8-3/4 inch foil pie pan to help the pastry keep its shape. Snip the rim of the foil pie tin every 2 inches or so and fold the rim upwards. After fitting the dough in the pie plate and crimping the edge, place the foil pie tin on top of the dough. Fill the tin with dried beans or pie weights and bake as specified in the recipe.

Better Homes & Gardens, November 2010

I made this one exactly as recommended, except because I forgot to read ahead (as usual), I didn’t have a second pie pan (see Blind Baking above) so I tried to shape one out of foil.  As you can see from the photo above, the pie crust was not pretty and I feared disaster!  If this happens to you, fear not! as it turns out whipped cream topping can hide any mistake just so long as it still tastes great (and it will).

Or you can always eat the whipped cream straight from the can as demonstrated by my boyfriend, Tom..

Everyone loved it at Christmas!

Alan Carter’s Pie Pastry

26 Dec

In a very large bowl, combine 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 to 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  With a pastry blender cut in 1 3/4 cups cold unsalted butter leaving chunks the size of peas.  Combine 2/3 cup ice-cold water, 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 1 teaspoon vinegar.  Add liquid all at once to the four mixture.  Quickly stir to distribute; do not overmix.  The dough should be slightly crumbly.  Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.  The finished dough should break, not stretch.  Divide into three portions; shape into disks.  Use at once or wrap and refrigerate up to 3 days. Or freeze up to 1 month.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen.

Makes 3 single-crust pastries.

Better Homes & Gardens, November 2010